I remember sitting in our child birth preparation class and briefly touching on the topic of breastfeeding. I raised my hand and asked the instructor if she thought a breastfeeding class would be helpful. She said she didn’t think so- it would probably be best to wait and see what individual issues I might have and then address them with a consultant. In hindsight, I would have gone to a class, and read every book I could have gotten my hands on. I was seriously unprepared for breastfeeding and I set myself up- and my son- for a very tough start.
My son was born via an emergency c-section and soon after he was born I asked the nurse if I should try breastfeeding. Her response was that I had plenty of time to breastfeed. Over the next 5 days in the hospital, I requested assistance with breastfeeding. I talked with at least 4 different consultants and many more nurses. They all offered their own advice on breastfeeding- and their advice varied greatly. Every night the nurses encouraged me to send my son to the nursery; I was exhausted and allowed him to go for at least part of the night.
My son started to lose weight and the nurses suggested that we give him a little formula, so that he didn’t starve. The idea that I couldn’t meet my son’s needs made me feel very discouraged and sad. I felt selfish for wanting to give it more time, but when the hospital pediatrician said he lost too much weight I decided to supplement with formula.
I was discharged from the hospital with a pack of sample formula bottles, and two very sore, peeling and bleeding nipples. Over the next few days, I found breastfeeding so painful and frustrating that I cried every time I tried to feed my son. When I took him to see his pediatrician for the first time, she asked how breastfeeding was going. Teary-eyed, I responded “not well.” She suggested that I visit a consultant that had done wonders for other patients. I made an appointment that day and to my surprise, she was able to latch my son without pain.
Had it not been for that lactation consultant, I would not have continued to breastfeed my son for the next ten months. I was never able to get my milk supply to cover his feedings completely, and it slowly decreased after I returned to work, but I was happy that I could give him what I did.
I am currently breastfeeding my second son, who was born a little over 3 months ago. My experience with him has been amazing and completely successful. I decided to take a breastfeeding class before he was born and was so happy that I did because I learned a lot of tips. After he was born (also via c-section), I asked to put him skin to skin. I made it clear to everyone who would listen that I was very interested in breastfeeding. I spent every moment possible close to him and never sent him to the nursery.
My milk came in before I left the hospital and by the time I took him to his pediatrician, he had already gained back his birth weight. I currently have an abundance of milk and have at least one week of milk frozen in the freezer. I returned to work last week and pumping is going well. I am very hopeful that I will be able to breastfeed him for his first year of life- and am so grateful to be enjoying it this time.
We would love to hear your breastfeeding memoirs. This is a place to share your triumphs and struggles, your successes and heartbreaks. We need to share our stories. Will you share yours with us?
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